A Lawyer’s Guide to Cross-Cultural Depositions
The skillful legal deposition interpreting is both a craft and an art. In the 1964 Cold War drama, Fail-Safe, Henry Fonda plays a U.S. President who must avoid all-out nuclear war by convincing the Soviet Premier that U.S. bombers had been mistakenly sent to attack Moscow with nuclear weapons. By his side at the hotline is his Russian interpreter, a young Larry Hagman. As Fonda prepares to make the call, he briefs his interpreter:
Sometimes, there’s more in a man’s voice than in his words. There are words in one language that don’t carry the same weight in another. . . . So, I want to know not only what he’s saying, but what you think he’s feeling-any inflection in his voice, any tone, any emotion that adds to his words-I want you to let me know.
Attorneys sometimes trade gloomy stories of testimony by foreign-born witnesses. A common complaint is that following a long verbal exchange between the witness and the interpreter, the interpreter turns toward the attorney and solemnly declares, “The witness said, ‘Yes.'”
This white paper for legal counsel addresses ways of overcoming some challenges of a cross-cultural deposition in a civil litigation case in which the attorney is English-speaking (generally American-born), and the deponent is foreign-born and speaks limited or no English, and where the deposing attorney uses a deposition interpreter to communicate with the non-English-speaking deponent.
Litigation Translation Services for Law Firms and Attorneys- click here to read.
Tips for Selecting a Qualified Interpreter for a Deposition in a Civil Litigation Case- click here for more.
Practice Pointers for a Successful Interpreted Deposition- click here.
Case Law Involving Deposition Interpreters- click here.